It was after midnight one night and sleep just wouldn't come. I thought I'd do a little light reading, and jumped into this Old Testament book about a beautiful, courageous young woman. "Hmm," I thought to myself, "what this inspired book of God needs is a little editing from me!" And look! I'm still alive to post it here—God has a sense of humor, too!
The Book of Esther - through my bleary eyes
It was the party of the century. For six solid months King Xerxes, ruler of 127 provinces from Sudan to India, partied hearty with his royal pseudo friends, complete with an open bar. One night, he ordered his eunuchs to call his wife, Vashti, who had already hostessed the men’s wives, to come and stand in front of all his intoxicated friends so they could admire her beauty. Sounds like he wanted his beer buddies to be jealous of his wife as well as his kingdom. But his drunken demand ticked off Vashti. She refused to come, honoring her personal boundaries, which embarrassed and upset her husband. He asked his wise guys for advice as to her refusal. They said she had disrespected him and there would be no end to the discord that would occur in everybody else’s castle once her women friends heard about it. They advised him to kick her out and let that be a warning to every other woman in the land not to get too big for their britches. Women needed to understand that their husbands were rulers over their households. And by the way, they needed to speak their husbands’ language in their homes. No more Pig Latin, apparently.
After the king sobered up, he reconsidered his rash decision. But it was too late. The laws of the Medes and Persians are made of cement. Vashti was vanquished. Bummer. But not to worry. There are always more fish in the sea. His wise guys suggested he advertise on Craig’s List for virgins who’d like to attend his rose ceremonies. One of the eunuchs, Hegai, would herd, I mean guard, all the virgins in one big hotel, pamper them with facials and mani/pedis, and the king could date them all, narrow down the list, and finally choose one of them to replace his ex. “Sure,” the king said. He was a deep thinker.
Now there was a man named Mordecai, a Jew, who was exiled from Jerusalem and living in Xerxesville. He was guardian to his orphaned cousin, Esther, who was so beautiful, she could easily have been named Miss Persia and gone on to win Miss Universe. He had raised her and thought of her as his own daughter. For some reason, she caught the attention of the king’s toadies, and she was brought, along with a lot of other innocent girls, to stay at Hotel Hegai. She caught the attention of Hegai while she was there, and won the grand prize of special beauty treatments and lots of chocolate, all hand delivered by seven women from the palace. Wow. That’s a lot of chocolate. They even put her up in the hotel’s penthouse. See what good looks can do for a girl?
Mordecai wasn’t far away, though. He kept his ears to the ground every day, checking on Esther while she was having spa treatments at the hotel. He’d told her not to tell anyone that she was a Jew. The MP’s (Medes and Persians) were pretty racially prejudiced at the time . . . oh, yeah, they still are there in present day Iran. It took twelve months of mud packs and Brazilian blowouts before the fair young maidens were considered lovely enough to meet the King up close and personal. By then, they were all another year older, you know. Each girl had a chance for a one night stand with the King. They just had to be smart. They had to know what to take from the hotel with them for their Ken and Barbie Date Night, and the next morning they were chauffeured back to the hotel. Then it was just a lot of hanging around in the hot tub, eating donuts with the other girls, trading stories and hoping they’d get the final flower at the impending rose ceremony.
When it was Esther’s turn to meet Xerxes, she decided not to try to figure out what to bring from the hotel on her own. Instead, she asked the eunuch in charge what he thought she should bring. Pretty smart cookie, there. Stroke the little guy’s pride. All the other girls kicked themselves for not thinking of it first. But they couldn’t hold it against Esther. She was a crowd favorite and was even named Miss Congeniality by a unanimous vote. All this happened in October when the King had been in office for seven years. I’m not sure why that matters, but it’s in the Bible.
Well, the whole thing worked and the King was smitten with Esther. Nobody else even tied for second. He gave her a royal tiara, made her his wife, threw another blowout party for all his friends, and proclaimed the fourth Thursday in October as Queen Esther Day. It might have been the third Friday in October. Whatever. He even had some royal china and paper weights made with both their pictures on it for the tourists.
And they should have just lived happily ever after all of that. I mean, the king sobered up and married the prettiest little Jew girl in the . . . . oh, yeah. That’s what went wrong. He never checked her passport to make sure she was legal. Bummer again. Esther wasn’t trying to skirt the law or be dishonest. She was just listening to her Uncle/Cousin Mordecai’s advice, and he was just trying to keep her pretty head attached to her pretty shoulders until he figured out what to do about that unfortunate nationality of hers.
Well, Uncle Cousin Mordeai had become quite a fixture on the castle grounds. But nobody knew he and the Queen were relatives. He was drinking a Starbucks one afternoon in the Castle Coffee Shop when he overheard a couple of the king’s bellboys griping about only being paid minimum wage or something like that. The two guys got each other so worked up, they decided to take out a contract on the king’s life instead of just contacting their local union like normal, sane people. Mordecai heard their whole amateur plot and he told Queen Esther about it. She told Xerxes and gave the credit to her Uncle Cousin. The King had his CIA agents check it out and sure enough, it was true! Suffice it to say that those two guys were never heard from again. CIA agents don’t mess around. The King even put the whole thing down in his journal. He had a touchy feely side that way.